What do Wall Street and Chelsea galleries have in common? They are both ways for bored, absurdly rich people to become richer. The art world has increasingly become something of a trendy stock market for the crème de la crème, who turn to platforms like ArtRank to literally quantify the creative labor of others into investment opportunities.
As the rich play around with their piles of cash, those below them in financial prowess grumble quietly. Voicing your disdain for the art world’s tumultuous relationship with money is unfortunately akin to career suicide to artists, a surefire way to disavow the possibility of longevity.
But art trolling has become a good outlet to express your contempt while maintaining anonymity. Joining the ranks of iconic art trolls like @icallb and @freeze_de is newcomer @TinderGuysArt. The account, made as a reaction to the recent news that Tinder CEO Sean Rad has joined the ranks of rich art enthusiasts and become a collector, operates as an imagined caricature of what Rad’s thought process might be like as he searches for art to invest in.
We spoke with the voice behind @TinderGuysArt to further understand current art-world issues and sentiments:
The Creators Project: Hey @TinderGuysArt, why do you think the art world/market is so hip for anyone with a lot of cash right now? Do you think this moment will last?
@TinderGuysArt: Art is an investment that you can use to show off. You want to come upstairs and look at my index fund? It’s just not as sexy.
Moments don’t last, so, no, I don't think the moment will last. Although I make it a point not to bet against the people who make the markets.
Do you think you there are any similarities between the way people use Tinder and the way collectors interact with the art world?
Hotness has too much influence on both.
What do you think an artist needs to do to become a commercial success today?
Sell out intellectually as quickly and fully as possible. Avoid sculpture. Paint things lots of people like, such as attractive celebrities. A soupçon of artistic signifiers, like a collage element or a nod to art history, will disguise the vapidity of the work enough to get it into collector’s homes.
Develop proprietary processes regardless of their artistic merit.
Coming from wealth already is a great way to do it, too.
What are your thoughts on ArtRank and other attempts being made at making the art world more like the stock market?
In a lot of ways the stock market and the art market manifest themselves with exponential subjectivity. It’s not “what do you think this is worth?” or even “what do other people think this is worth?” but “what do other people think other people think this is worth?”
I just looked up the slogan for ArtRank: “ArtRank™ gives you an unprecedented data-driven advantage in art collecting.” It is satire in itself. It so perfectly misses the point about why art can be meaningful in one’s life that I’m hesitant to even make fun of it.
Are you going to Art Basel Miami this year? How do you feel about the fair? Do you have a Basel specific "artist to watch”?
@TinderGuysArt will be at Art Basel Miami. It’s his natural environment.
Here are a few Art Basel Miami thoughts:
1) At Art Basel Miami you don't need to know anything and with enough money you can know anyone.
2) It’s like the art world’s yearly IPO, prices are public all at once.
3) What could be more perfect, mixing money and art with sunshine and cocaine?
4) It’s fun to see artists covet money the same way collectors covet art.
5) It’s a lot like Tinder, you have to swipe left a lot, and when you swipe right, it’s expensive, sure, but you find out that pretty much everything has a price.
As far as artists to watch, I like to watch the drunk ones whose work just sold.
Do you have a favorite art world moment of 2015?
The “Bronx is Burning” Halloween party. It had everything I love as a persona and so much that troubles me as a person. It sounds like something the SNL character Stefan would share: This party has everything, restored run-down warehouses, real estate developers, gentrifying forces, and Luciens, which is that thing when lots of collectors just agree that this one guy is the new hotness just to troll the plebeians.
Can you sum up the state of the art world in 2015, in one word?
For more ingenious art world trolling, visit Tinder Guy’s Art’s Twitter, @TinderGuysArt.